The NT is getting its first private mental health facility.
The Mental Health and Alcohol and other Drugs unit is being built at Darwin Private Hospital to service the whole of the NT.
The closest private facility of its kind is currently in Cairns.
Healthscope Limited yesterday announced it will invest about $16 million in building the units.
Psychiatrist consultant, Dr Carolyn Little, said the new unit at will provide “much-needed timely access to private inpatient treatment, allowing Territorians to access the level of private psychiatric therapy options that are available in all other states and territories of Australia”.
Dr Little said the new service would provide increased access to psychiatric services for many people who are currently unable to access the mental health treatment they require.
"The potential impact on our community of reducing the intensity and duration of psychiatric symptoms in these individuals, along with the flow on effect to the rest of society, is considerable.
“Patients seeking private psychiatric inpatient treatment will no longer have to travel interstate with the associated costs and additional psychological stress associated with dislocation from their regular support networks and service providers.”
Currently, the number of dedicated mental health beds in Darwin is three times less than cities of comparable size such as Cairns and Hobart.
Darwin Private Hospital General Manager Dr Jo Seiler said the investment was the latest in Healthscope’s ongoing commitment in providing exceptional patient care and quality clinical outcomes to Darwin residents and Territorians.
Dr Seiler said the new Mental Health and AOD unit would have the capacity to treat more than 5000 patients in its first year of operation, providing a much needed service to the community.
“Currently there are many patients who are transferred interstate for treatment, travelling long distances,” Dr Seiler said.
“This will be Darwin’s and the Northern Territory’s first private Mental Health and AOD unit and it will be designed to accommodate further expansion. We envisage that in time, the facility could grow to a 60 bed inpatient unit – the biggest of its kind in the Territory.
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